After the birth of our son, my husband and I barely had enough money to buy diapers and formula, let alone plane tickets. Some days, just for fun, I would Google exotic destinations and figure out what the price would be to travel there.
Of course, this was horribly depressing once I realized that the plane tickets alone would cost well over $1000 for two people.
Fast-forward to almost a year later, and here I am planning a week-long trip to Europe for both myself and my husband for cheap. Like, just over $1000 total, cheap.
So, if you’ve got a dream destination that you’ve never even considered because it seems too expensive, these tips are for you!
1. Be flexible and patient
This is perhaps the most important tip that will save you money and hassle down the road. Keeping a ‘go-with-the-flow’ mindset and waiting for the best opportunities means that you could get some really good deals and lower the cost of your flight.
It can be incredibly tempting to book a spontaneous, last-minute flight somewhere, but if you really want to plan out a trip and save the most money, you have to be patient and know the best time to strike!
2. Book your flights 2-3 months before your trip.
While it is important to plan ahead, booking your flights as early as possible may not be the best option. Based on a huge study in 2017, there are ‘sweet spots’ for booking flights.
If you are traveling within the US, the best time to book your flights are anywhere from a few weeks to 3 months before your trip. For international travel, you want to book at least 2 months in advance for the cheapest tickets.
For some specific numbers, here are a few destinations and the best day to book flights for them:
- Canada: 59 days
- Mexico: 61 days
- Asia: 90 days
- Europe: 99 days
- Africa: 119 days
- Middle East: 119 days
- Central America: 61 days
- Caribbean: 76 days
- South America: 81 days
3. Book your flights on a Tuesday
Oddly specific, right? Here’s why Tuesday is the best day to book your flight:
According to fare compare, airlines begin sales on tickets early in the week (late Monday or early Tuesday), and are typically done posting the deals by Tuesday afternoon. So, if you book your flights on a Tuesday, you’re sure to see the best deals, and have a wide variety to choose from.
4. Book before 9am. or after 6pm.
Sometimes, tickets that were not sold during the peak time of day will decrease in price in the afternoon and early morning the next day, which means booking early in the morning (before 9 a.m.) or later in the evening (after 6 p.m.) is considered the best time of day to book plane tickets.
Couple this little tip with #3, and you’ll know why some people will tell you that the best time to buy plane tickets is on Tuesday afternoon or early Wednesday morning.
5. Book your flights so that you depart on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday.
Because most business trips leave on Mondays and return on Fridays, many airlines will increase the price of departure/return tickets on these days. That leaves flights in the middle of the week cheaper, with Tuesday, Wednesday, and Saturday being the cheapest.
This is where being flexible comes in handy. Adapting your schedule to fit in with these departure days will pay off (literally!) While this may not always save you a ton of money, I personally have been booking flights before and was able to save $50 (per ticket!) by changing the departure date from a Monday to a Wednesday.
6. Go incognito
Sometimes, the price remains the same, but just in case, go incognito or put your browser into private browsing mode to bypass these increased prices.
7. Bundle your flight, hotel, and car
Sometimes buying your flight, hotel, and rental car together can save you at least a few hundred dollars in the long run. This isn’t always the case, so be sure to look at each one individually and then compare the price of bundling to make sure you’re getting the best price!
Websites like Expedia are well-known for easily bundling everything for you, so it’s easier (and typically cheaper!) for you.
8. Travel during the ‘off-season’ of your location
While this can vary from place to place, typically there is what’s called a ‘down season’ for a particular location. This is when a destination doesn’t have as many tourists, so prices tend to decrease, along with wait times for popular rides/events!
This can be both a blessing and a curse, however. There’s usually a reason why people aren’t visiting a location for these down months. For example, most people aren’t traveling to the beach during the winter months due to the cold weather, so while hotel prices go down, you’re probably not going to be spending a lot of time in that cold water.
Also, while traveling during the off-season is a good way to get a cheaper deal and not have to wait in long lines on your vacation, some places/excursions may not even be open during this time, so check early and make sure what you want is still available during this time.
Not sure when the off-season is for your destination? Google it! Just type in your destination and add ‘down season’ to figure out when the cheapest time of year would be to go.
Traveling the world doesn’t have to be expensive. While flights can be the largest expense when it comes to planning a trip, there are definitely some easy things you can do to save some money!
Hopefully these tips will help you the next time you’re booking flights for your next adventure. Are there any other traveling tips you use to save money? Let me know below!
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